Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Quotation of the Day

N.C.'s HB2 Protests: 'Scorched Earth Just Leaves Ash'

Jarek Steele

"What this means in reality is that they're boycotting independent bookstores located in North Carolina. According to Malaprop's Bookstore in North Carolina, Sherman Alexie was the first to cancel an event with them. I love Sherman Alexie almost as much as I love Bruce [Springsteen], but I have to speak truth--cancelling appearances with independent bookstore because of the bathroom bill while keeping appearances at schools and libraries is wrong.

"While I wholeheartedly support pretty much any tactic to fight these regressive, hateful laws that target trans people, Malaprop's are the good guys. They're a lot like Left Bank Books in that they're a progressive independent bookstore in a conservative state. Sometimes it's necessary when protesting to be sure you're not throwing away the good with the bad. Scorched earth just leaves ash....

"But if I may, let me suggest this--I get sacrifice for greater good, but why sacrifice an ally who actively works toward the same goal? What other allies would we sacrifice? And then, once allies are sacrificed, what is the greater good?"

--Jarek Steele, co-owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., in a blog post yesterday headlined "Scorched Earth--Bathroom Bills and Boycott in North Carolina"

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton


Bookmarks Explores Opening Bookstore in Winston-Salem

The board of directors at Bookmarks, a nonprofit literary organization, has formed an exploratory committee to expand the organization's footprint in Winston-Salem, N.C., with the goal of creating a gathering place that combines an independent bookstore, offices, a space for Bookmarks-sponsored events as well as programs with other organizations. A donations site has been set up to "support Bookmarks and our dream of creating an independent bookstore."

Noting that a bricks-and-mortar bookstore has been part of Bookmarks' strategic plan since 2011, executive director Ginger Hendricks said, "This dedicated retail space will help us draw more award-winning and bestselling authors to Winston-Salem and the Triad area. We see literary arts programming continuing to grow its role in our community--connecting, challenging, informing, and entertaining us."

Author and  board of directors president Charlie Lovett noted that an "independent bookstore will provide a cultural gathering place and fill a major gap in Winston-Salem's literary scene."

Founded in 2004, Bookmarks began selling books in 2013, and those sales have become an increasingly important source of funding. The operations director is Jamie Rogers Southern, whose experience includes five years as manager of the Alabama Booksmith in Homewood, as well as time spent as education coordinator for the American Booksellers Association.

B&N Closing Arlington Heights, Ill., Store

Barnes & Noble will close its location in Arlington Heights, Ill., May 28 after 16 years in business. Store manager Aubreey Medrano told the Daily Herald that corporate officials have not informed her of the reason for the decision. B&N's lease for the 24,000-square-foot space expires in June.

"We enjoyed serving our customers there and invite them to visit one of the many nearby Barnes & Noble locations for the same great service and selection," said David Deason, the company's v-p of development. B&N operates bookstores in Deer Park Town Center and Woodfield Plaza Shopping Center in Schaumburg.

N.C.'s HB2: Duck's Laughs Back

From Duck's Cottage

One North Carolina bookstore has already gotten a lot of mileage out of a humorous response to the state's discriminatory new law HB2. As Jamie Hope Anderson of Duck's Cottage Coffee & Books/Downtown Books, Duck and Manteo, N.C., wrote: "This is a nasty piece of legislation that we HAVE to get repealed and, in the meantime, oppose with any means possible. The economic impact and effects of this are already being felt in some of our larger cities and even smaller towns. As our tourist season here on the Outer Banks approaches, we too are concerned that our visitors may see HB2 as reason to vacation elsewhere… Of course it's not just about bathrooms, it's about discrimination, the usurping of municipal rights and SO much more."

To highlight the problem and "get our message across to all of our loyal (and mostly out of state) bookstore and coffee shop customers," the store posted a faux sign on Facebook using some "potty humor" that has been widely shared, and welcomed by most customers.

London Bookshop Robbed, Supporters to the Rescue

Last Thursday, a thief stole £600 (about $850) from the cash register at the Big Green Bookshop in London, but Sam Jordison, co-director of Galley Beggar Press, quickly set up a crowdfunding page for the shop that has raised more than £5,500 (about $7,829).

Describing the show of community support for the bookshop as "incredible," co-owner Tim West told the Bookseller: "For once, I'm vaguely speechless. When something like a theft happens, your faith in people is battered, but it's been completely rebuilt in less than 24 hours because of this. It's fantastic."

On the fund-raising page Thursday, Jordison wrote: "I'm a bit blurry eyed and cry-y now. This is amazing. Thank you. Let's see if we can make them a couple of month's rent as well then. Thanks again everyone. Target reached and busted." By Saturday, he had added:  "All the tributes pouring into Big Green Books are really touching. Wonderful that so many neighbors and customers are thinking of them. It's also incredibly moving to see people from around the world donating. There have been loads of donations from America. Loads! Thanks USA!"

In the Guardian Friday, co-owner Simon Key wrote: "All the donations have come with messages of support, from regulars, book agents, and even people who used to live nearby and miss our shop.... I've spent much of the past 24 hours in tears, totally overwhelmed by people's generosity. Whatever total is finally reached, it will make a world of difference to our business. I want to thank everyone who has contributed in any way at all to this (apart from the thief). Social media can be an incredible thing when it works, can't it?"

Obituary Notes: Giancarlo Bonacina; Howard Marks

Giancarlo Bonacina, "editor of foreign fiction at Italian publishing company Mondadori Editore--a position he held from the mid-1970s, responsible for acquiring many of the bestselling authors on the Mondadori list today," died April 8, the Bookseller reported.

Former literary scout Anne Louise Fisher said Bonacina "had that rare gift of being able to publish across the literary and commercial. When I first started working with him in September 1986 he often lead the way in acquiring a title in the U.K. before it even had a U.K. or U.S. publisher attached. The respect in which he and Mondadori were held by the international publishing community was such that if he wanted to acquire the Italian rights to a book, he almost always succeeded. To be published by Giancarlo and the team at Mondadori would guarantee the book's success more often than not.... He was truly one of the great publishers on the international stage and a dear, kind and generous friend. I will miss him enormously."


Howard Marks, who was " Britain's best-known and most charming drugs smuggler, and also a successful author and raconteur," died April 10, the Guardian reported. He was 70. Marks "translated a lifetime of international cannabis dealing and a long stretch in an American jail" into his bestselling 1996 book Mr. Nice. He also wrote The Howard Marks Book of Dope Stories; Señor Nice: Straight Life from Wales to South America; Sympathy for the Devil; The Score; and Mr. Smiley: My Last Pill and Testament.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: {pages} and YA Authors

At the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this past weekend, a group of YA authors showed off their books at the {pages} a bookstore booth. Pictured: Maggie Hall, Sabaa Tahir, Kerry Klutter and Romina Russell.

Witnessing the Indie Renaissance

Bookmobile in Minneapolis, Minn., featured an extensive interview with Stu Abraham of commission sales group Abraham and Associates, which also has an office in the same building. Among our favorite exchanges were naturally those about an indie bookstore renaissance:

Stu Abraham (photo:

What about now? You mentioned that the indies are coming back. So do you see a revival of that world?
I see a revival of that world, it's not making up in billing, the billing we lost when Borders went out, for example, and some of the bigger chains in the Midwest, like Kroch's and Brentano's, and there were more independents, and they were bigger. But there's a lot of new bookstores; some are niche-y, some are just small, and thankfully some of them are being opened by young people. 'Cause some of the old bookstores were started in the same period when I started, and those people are now in their sixties and seventies, and there's a question of what the succession will be with those bookstores. Hopefully they're turning them over to younger people. But meanwhile, some younger people are opening stores in the Midwest, and in the Twin Cities there's several good examples of that.

What are a couple of examples?
Moon Palace is great. That is in the Longfellow neighborhood, I think it is. It's a great bookstore with wonderful people who really know their books, and spot things ahead and know what to promote and how to sell it. Common Good is a great local store that does a wonderful job, we still have University of Minnesota bookstore, and Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis, I think, is one of the best bookstores in the country, plus, we have what I think are two of the best children's bookstores in the country, Wild Rumpus and Red Balloon, one in Minneapolis, one in St. Paul. I don't see anything that compares to those two stores anywhere.

What about elsewhere in your territory, like Chicago or Ann Arbor or Detroit, do you see this revival there as well?
Yeah, new stores opening up, really good ones in Chicago, all over town, and some of the older ones are expanding, opening new locations. Detroit has a couple of stores, Ann Arbor has one... Ann Arbor, which was dominated by Borders because that's where their headquarters was. It's a town that used to have a whole street full of bookstores, State Street, all gone. Now they're coming back, so Ann Arbor's reviving too....

'What's in a Name?': Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop

"What's in a Name?" is a new series from Bookselling This Week "highlighting some of the bookselling world's most unusual, original, and coolest store names." In the first installment, Candice Huber, owner of Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop in New Orleans, explains that the store's moniker is derived from her grandparents' childhood nicknames.

"Tubby is my grandfather and Coo was my grandmother," she said. "Tubby and Coo were what friends in their neighborhood called them when they were growing up. My grandpa was a little stocky, tubby kid, so everyone called him Tubby, and Coo is from when my grandmother was a baby. Everybody would coo at her--back in the day you would literally coo at babies. So the name Coo stuck with her pretty much her whole life."

Huber's said her grandfather, now 95, loves to visit the store, though he doesn't make it in as much as he used to. "He is very proud of it," she said. "He will sit in the corner and tell everyone he is the Tubby.... I'm pretty proud of the name. I think it's pretty unique. I get asked about it all the time. People ask, is it your pets? Is it you? So it's definitely a conversation starter."

Book Trailer of the Day: Don't Get Caught

Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan (Sourcebooks Fire), a first novel by a high school English teacher about teens caught up in a prank war.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Arianna Huffington on Diane Rehm

CBS This Morning: Gwyneth Paltrow, author of It's All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook (Grand Central, $35, 9781455584215).

Also on CBS This Morning: Maya S. Penn, author of You Got This!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World (North Star Way, $15.99, 9781501123719).

Diane Rehm: Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time (Harmony, $26, 9781101904008).

Meredith Vieira: Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, co-authors of Sh*tty Mom for All Seasons: Half-@ssing It All Year Long (Abrams, $19.95, 9781419714047).

Movies: Fantastic Beasts; Moomins & the Comet Chase

"Eddie Redmayne emerged from a suitcase at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards to introduce the exclusive new trailer for his upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," the Hollywood Reporter wrote. The Harry Potter prequel, written by J.K. Rowling and directed by David Yates, will hit theaters November 18. The cast also includes Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman and Jon Voight.


Vision Films, in conjunction with Global 3 Media, is releasing Moomins and the Comet Chase, based on the bestselling children's book series by Swedish author Tove Jansson, today on VOD & DVD in North America. The film stars Max von Sydow, Alexander Skarsgård, Stellan, Mads Mikkelsen, Peter Stormare and Helena Mattsson. It features original music composed and performed by Björk. Directed by Maria Lindberg, Moomins and the Comet Chase was written by Joel Backström, Iivo Baric, Minna Karvonen and Anders Larsson.

"We adore the Moomins and want to make these sweet, cuddly characters a staple in North American homes," said Lise Romanoff, managing director & CEO of Vision Films. "Voiced by an all-star cast, I'm confident that everyone will fall in love with Moomintroll and his friends the way everyone at Vision Films has."

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Winners; Baileys Women's Fiction Shortlist

PEN American Center announced several more awards during its prize ceremony last night in New York:

  • In the Country by Mia Alvar (Knopf) won the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.
  • Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future by Lauren Redniss (Random House) won the $10,000 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau) won the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.
  • Chord by Rick Barot (Sarabande Books) won the $5,000 Open Book Award.

A complete list of 2016 winners is available here.


A six-book shortlist has been announced for the £30,000 (about US$49,835) Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, which "celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women from throughout the world." The winner will be honored June 8 in London. This year's finalists are:

Ruby by Cynthia Bond
The Green Road by Anne Enright
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Top Library Recommended Titles for May

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 May titles public library staff across the country love:

Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (Atria, $26, 9781501142536). "Britt-Marie is a woman who is used to her life being organized. But when she leaves her cheating spouse and takes a temporary job as caretaker of the recreation center in the tiny town of Borg, her life changes in unpredictable ways. With its wonderful cast of oddball characters and sly sense of humor, this novel is sure to capture readers' hearts. Highly recommended." --Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, La.

The Fireman: A Novel by Joe Hill (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062200631). "The Fireman is a novel that will keep you up reading all night. No one really knows where the deadly Dragonscale spore originated but many theories abound. The most likely is that as the planet heats up, the spore is released into the atmosphere. Harper Willowes is a young, pregnant nurse who risks her own health to tend to others. This is her story and I loved it! This is one of the most creative takes on apocalyptic literature that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended for all Hill and King fans." --Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, Texas

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781501124372). "Set during World War II and loosely based on the author's own grandparents, this was a strikingly honest look at the changes that war creates on a country's landscape and its people. These changes were so strongly shown by the progressive style of this novel. Bit by bit, we are privy to each character's transformation. What a great tribute to what they endured. War gives birth to many endings, also to many beginnings. Bittersweet." --Lori Elliott, Kershaw County Library, S.C.

Sweetbitter: A Novel by Stephanie Danler (Knopf, $25, 9781101875940). "At her new job at one of NYC's posh restaurants, Tess falls for a mysterious bartender and negotiates the politics of the service industry while building a social life. Danler drew from her own experience and the writing is vivid and stimulating. I'm always interested in a story about a girl trying to find her place in the world and her adventures, but anyone who appreciates writing that pulses with life will drink this down." --Sonia Reppe, Stickney-Forest View Public Library, Stickney, Ill.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (Berkley, $26, 9781101987490). "Five-year-old Jacob is killed in a hit and run, an event that sends the police in search of the driver. Jenna Gray flees to Wales to mourn the loss of her son and recover from her past. As the anniversary of Jacob's still unsolved death approaches, a tip to police results in an arrest and a very different picture emerges. This self-assured debut combines jaw-dropping moments with complex, believable characters and an ending that is hard to see coming." --Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, N.J.

Smoke: A Novel by Dan Vyleta (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385540162). "In an alternate historical London, people who lie reveal themselves by giving off smoke but the rules of how this works are complicated. There are some people who can lie and not trigger any smoke and this lends an interesting element to the story. The rules we are given are changeable. The setting lends itself well to the story. The writing is descriptive, and the tone is atmospheric. Similar authors that come to my mind were Neil Gaiman and China Mieville. This is a dark, delicious tale." --Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, Mo.

Redemption Road: A Novel by John Hart (Thomas Dunne, $27.99, 9780312380366). "In Hart's new suspense novel, we meet veteran detective Elizabeth Black, who is facing possible suspension for a suspicious shooting. At the same time, former police officer Adrian Wall is released from prison after serving time for the murder of Julia Stange. Stange's son wants Adrian dead. Adrian has always claimed his innocence, but after his release, a couple of new bodies turn up at the church. This is a thrilling page-turner that starts at a rapid-fire pace and doesn't let up. Great book for literary and thriller lovers alike." --Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, Ind.

City of the Lost: A Thriller by Kelley Armstrong (Minotaur, $25.99, 9781250092144). "When Casey Duncan and her friend are invited to Rockton, a town for people who need to disappear, she's skeptical. Could it really be the haven it promises? She soon finds that Rockton has its own particular set of problems, including a designer drug and a murderer. As the town's new detective, Casey is soon plunged into the hunting of a killer in a town built on secrets. Armstrong introduces a fascinating setting and an intriguing cast of characters. Readers will find themselves hooked." --Elena Gleason, Coos Bay Public Library, Coos Bay, Ore.

Wilde Lake: A Novel by Laura Lippman (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062083456). "As Lu, the newly elected state's attorney in Howard County, prepares for a trial of a woman found murdered in her apartment, she begins to uncover secrets from her past. Bringing her back to the night her brother saved a life at the cost of another, Lu begins to question everything she's known about the events and her childhood. Lippman's newest standalone is sure to be another hit, perfect for mystery fans." --Annice Sevett, New Hanover County Library, Wilmington, N.C.

Sweet Lamb of Heaven: A Novel by Lydia Millet (Norton, $25.95, 9780393285543). "An arresting story about a wife manipulated and what she goes through to escape her husband's desperate means to keep her. When her daughter is born, Anna starts hearing a voice in her head that may suggest the supernatural or the divine. She and her daughter hole up in a motel where all the guests seem to hear a similar voice in their heads. The author jolts the reader into reading something unexpected and the effect is eerie and memorable. Highly recommended for book discussions." --Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, Calif.

Book Review

Review: The Assistants

The Assistants by Camille Perri (Putnam, $25 hardcover, 9780399172540, May 3, 2016)

On the 40th floor of his Midtown Manhattan headquarters, mass communications kingpin Robert Barlow berates his lieutenants, entertains clients and scans an office wall of global news screens. A Texas Longhorn by education and temperament who speaks in bunkhouse wisdom ("Just because a chicken has wings don't mean it can fly"), Robert is a larger-than-life composite of every media gazillionaire in New York City. Outside his door sits his smaller-than-life executive assistant, Tina Fontana, a daughter of Italian grocers in the Bronx who put herself through New York University to earn an English degree and $20,000 in student loan debt. She got the assistant's job because Robert decided at their first meeting that he could trust her--always to put through calls from his former cheerleader wife, to refill the ice bucket for his client-schmoozing Herradura Tequilas, and to fill out his personal expenditure reimbursement forms. She is the focus of Camille Perri's first novel, The Assistants.

As the big boss, Robert's expense reports don't get much scrutiny (Tina prepared one for a $2,500 set of golf clubs he once bought at a country club pro shop because he left his at the hotel), so when she inadvertently submits one under her name and is reimbursed with a check for $20,000 ("this minuscule-to-them-yet-life-changing-for-me amount of money"), she falls into temptation and uses the money to pay off her debt. Emily, another assistant working in the audit department, catches the error and confronts Tina--not with exposure and possible termination for theft, but with a request that she continue gaming the system to skim enough money to pay off her student debt. Soon the head of accounting, Margie, uncovers their scam, but also gives them a pass if they work the same process to pay off her assistant's student loans. And this is how a quasi-altruistic Madoff/Ponzi scheme takes root.

It's great fun, and Perri (former books editor for a magazine and a YA ghostwriter) freewheels enough millennial savvy, parenthetical asides and clever repartee to give Girls a run for its money. She even throws in hottie Kevin "Handsome" in Legal for Tina to obsess over. Some jokes miss, but they keep coming (like a good Simpsons episode), so the misses don't much matter. Never mind that poking fun at executive assistants and their bosses is like kicking dinosaur bones--the era of EAs is all but over since every future CEO kid with a cellphone can auto-load his own calendar and smart-pay his expenses. Nor does Perri ask why young liberal arts majors choose to take on huge student debts and live in one of the country's most expensive cities. Her set-up is too sweet to quibble over details. Rather, we should just sit back and let a smart, funny writer entertain. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: In Perri's raucous debut novel, a media mogul's smart young assistant accidentally creates a scheme to skim corporate expense account money to cover her and her colleagues' student loan debts.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Logan Kade by Tijan
2. Forever Pucked (The Pucked Series Book 4) by Helena Hunting
3. Hardball by CD Reiss
4. Heartbreaker by Melody Grace
5. Say You Love Me by J.S. Cooper
6. Triple Threat by CJ Lyons
7. Property of Drex #2 (Book 2: Death Chasers MC Series) by C.M. Owens
8. Tender is the Night by Barbara Freethy
9. Breaking Her (Love Is War Book 2) by R.K. Lilley
10. Rushing the Goal (Assassins Series Book 8) by Toni Aleo

[Many thanks to!]

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